Saturday 29 November 2014

What I Learned Yesterday

As most of you probably know it got a bit cold yesterday here in Calgary, but rest assured I am fine. I made it through the night alive and with all of my appendages, fingers, toes, etc still attached. As I went through my day yesterday and evening, I learned a few things that I thought would be good for me to pass along. 

1) Did you know that you can’t fill propane tanks below -20C? 

Okay, I don’t know the exact temperature but if you are below -20C don’t bother asking for propane. If it is that cold then the propane stays in a liquid state as it is being transferred from their big tank to your little one. That is a problem and unsafe, I am to entirely sure of the reason, but they won’t do it, so don’t ask. 

What this means is that in winter either top up both tanks when you get them filled (somewhere north of -10C). The other thing to do would be to fill up that tank you just emptied as soon as possible, (somewhere north of -10C). Trust me, you don’t want to run out of propane in winter. This has not happened to me, but I can imagine what an unsafe condition it would be.

2) Did you know generators tend to not want to run below -20C? 

Okay, again I am talking about Jenny and for whatever reason she wouldn’t start. I had wanted to run her for an hour to charge Wanda’s batteries enough to run the furnace in the early evening. I can guess that the reason why she didn’t start was because the oil in her is 10W30 and not 5W30. What that means is that her oil is a bit thicker and thicker oil will not flow as freely in the cold and therefore slow the engine. 

So, all I know is that I couldn’t pull that cord hard enough to get her spinning fast enough to start. (not because I am a weakling, thank you very much). Not starting Jenny was a bit of a problem as that meant that I had no power in Wanda’s batteries. No power means no furnace and that means Wanda stays cold. 

In a pinch I might have put Jenny in the cab of the truck and ran Treabilla’s engine and heater to warm up the generator enough so that it would start (not in the cab of the truck thank you). Once it was running, it would have been fine (probably), it was just too cold to start. 

3) Did you know that Grocery Stores are a nice warm place to stay for a bit?

Okay, so while you can’t camp out in one or stay too long, but they are warm. I decided to do a bit of grocery shopping, as I waited to plug in last night. It was better than sitting in the icebox that was Wanda. 

4) Did you know that for the price of a cup of coffee, you can sit in a famous fast food restaurant for a few hours and not be bothered? 

Okay, again, instead of sitting in a cold Wanda, (I actually did this for half an hour), you can go sit in a place and kill a few hours for a cup of coffee. I did and used that trick last night as I stayed there until I decided to risk it and plug in early at 7pm. 

5) Did you know that these RV’s are really not able to handle a Canadian, Prairie Winter? 

Okay, so I have stayed in Wanda in -20C before but it was nowhere near as bad as last night. For whatever reason with both the furnace and Electric heater going, I couldn’t get it past 10C. I then turned it down to 5C and bundled up and went to bed. Somewhere in the middle of the night I migrated to being in my crappy sleeping bag on the floor next to the electric heater. 

I was fine but today I will be buying a -40C rated sleeping bag, just in case, so that I know I will be fine no matter what. My guess as to the difference is that the last time it got this cold I was able to run Wanda’s furnace for a few hours in warmer weather, so as to build up some heat, last night by the time I plugged in, it was about -13C, here, take a look.

6) Did you know that Shopping Centres are warm places to hang out and stay warm?

I will spend time in various places, such as libraries, shopping centres or coffee shops, and not run Wanda’s furnace until I plug in again tonight. I am not ready to throw in the towel (not by a long shot).  I see this cold as just another challenge to overcome. Besides, the ‘warmer’ weather is returning next week and we will be back to somewhere around -10, so Wanda and I will be fine. 

7) Did you know that your credit card company periodically evaluates your credit rating in order to determine what credit limit you should have?

Okay, so I checked my mail yesterday as well and got a letter from my second Credit Card company. That is the one that I am now beginning to pay down. I cringed, as usually these things are not good, or at the very least some useless piece of information. You know the “we are changing our privacy agreement” meaning “we are going to sell your information to whoever will pay us . . . suck it. (Okay that’s just what goes through my head anyways).

This time it was a note to say they wanted to up my credit limit from $5000.00 to $8000.00. I actually stood there and blinked, unsure of what to do, as this had not happened to me before. I read it over twice, as in the whole thing twice to see if they were messing with me. Nope, not an invitation to apply for more credit, this was just a note to say here you go take it, just say yes. 

Again, they want me to run into trouble again and rack that thing up to its limit. That is how they make their money, off of people who were in the situation that I was in for the past four years.

Now, I know what you are thinking, why would someone who is paying down my credit cards accept more credit. Credit Cards can get you into trouble and put you on a 4 year treadmill of never ending debt. There is the fact that they are handy ways to pay for things and yes can also pull your fat out of the fire. 

Credit is something you get when you don’t need it, so you have it when you do. As such I plan to get this extra credit and just not use it. It may prove handy in the future, but for now it will be a nice and useless thing. I know from experience how life can toss you curve balls and you have no other choice but to use your credit cards to live. 

I plan to pay down the cards I have, keep them at zero and build up my savings, so I can use that for emergencies. Just because Credit Cards are dangerous, doesn’t mean they aren’t handy, when used responsibly. That is the key, use them responsibly. (Think of them as a firearm).

I should start to write, I am in a warm place with a hot cup of coffee. Don’t worry about me, I will be fine, I will persevere. Don’t forget what Clint Eastwood repeatedly said in “Heartbeak Ridge” (I think) . . . . “Improvise, Overcome.”

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